Thaddeus WW Pace, PhD

Assistant Professor, Nursing
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-3520
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Pace is a biological psychologist with a primary interest in translational mind-body science in the context of stress, illness, and wellness. A major focus of his work today is the biology of wellness in cancer survivors, particularly women who have experienced breast cancer. He is especially interested in the development of novel intervention programs that target mind-body biological pathways, including endocrine and inflammatory immune systems.

Dr. Pace has 11+ years of experience measuring markers of the stress response, including key inflammatory biomarkers (e.g. interleukin-6 and nuclear factor-κB), and 7 years of experience with effectiveness research for different meditation programs. Besides the development of compassion meditation for breast cancer survivors, he is also keenly interested in the potential of natural products to reverse inflammation-associated fatigue experienced by breast cancer survivors.

Dr. Pace's research is supported by several NIH grants, including an R21 from NCI to explore the effectiveness of curcumin to attenuate inflammation and fatigue in survivors of breast cancer

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
University of Arizona
Research Focus: 

Endocrine and immune system changes in stress-related psychiatric illness
Endocrine and inflammatory immune alterations as a result of adverse early life trauma
Novel contemplative interventions to optimize psychological, inflammatory immune, and endocrine responses to stress
Novel, natural anti-inflammatory compounds such as curcumin to promote health and wellness

Selected Publications: 
  1. Torres MA, Pace TW, Liu T, Felger JC, Mister D, Doho GH, Kohn JN, Barsevick AM, Long Q, Miller AH. Predictors of depression in breast cancer patients treated with radiation: role of prior chemotherapy and nuclear factor kappa B. Cancer. 2013 Jun 1;119(11):1951-9. PubMed PMID: 23512358; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3663885.
  2. Smith AK, Conneely KN, Pace TW, Mister D, Felger JC, Kilaru V, Akel MJ, Vertino PM, Miller AH, Torres MA. Epigenetic changes associated with inflammation in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 May;38:227-36. PubMed PMID: 24583204; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4312666.
  3. Olivera A, Moore TW, Hu F, Brown AP, Sun A, Liotta DC, Snyder JP, Yoon Y, Shim H, Marcus AI, Miller AH, Pace TW. Inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway by the curcumin analog, 3,5-Bis(2-pyridinylmethylidene)-4-piperidone (EF31): anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Int Immunopharmacol. 2012 Feb;12(2):368-77. PubMed PMID: 22197802; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3372981.
  4. Pace TW, Negi LT, Adame DD, Cole SP, Sivilli TI, Brown TD, Issa MJ, Raison CL. Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Jan;34(1):87-98. PubMed PMID: 18835662; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2695992.
  5. Pace TW, Negi LT, Sivilli TI, Issa MJ, Cole SP, Adame DD, Raison CL. Innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress do not predict subsequent compassion meditation practice time. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Feb;35(2):310-5. PubMed PMID: 19615827; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3083925.
  6. Desbordes G, Negi LT, Pace TW, Wallace BA, Raison CL, Schwartz EL. Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012;6:292. PubMed PMID: 23125828; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3485650.
  7. Pace TW, Negi LT, Dodson-Lavelle B, Ozawa-de Silva B, Reddy SD, Cole SP, Danese A, Craighead LW, Raison CL. Engagement with Cognitively-Based Compassion Training is associated with reduced salivary C-reactive protein from before to after training in foster care program adolescents. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Feb;38(2):294-9. PubMed PMID: 22762896.
  8. Pace TW, Mletzko TC, Alagbe O, Musselman DL, Nemeroff CB, Miller AH, Heim CM. Increased stress-induced inflammatory responses in male patients with major depression and increased early life stress. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;163(9):1630-3. PubMed PMID: 16946190.
  9. Pace TW, Miller AH. Cytokines and glucocorticoid receptor signaling. Relevance to major depression. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Oct;1179:86-105. PubMed PMID: 19906234; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3399249.
  10. Pace TW, Heim CM. A short review on the psychoneuroimmunology of posttraumatic stress disorder: from risk factors to medical comorbidities. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Jan;25(1):6-13. PubMed PMID: 20934505.
  11. Pace TW, Wingenfeld K, Schmidt I, Meinlschmidt G, Hellhammer DH, Heim CM. Increased peripheral NF-κB pathway activity in women with childhood abuse-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Jan;26(1):13-7. PubMed PMID: 21801830.
Collaborative Research: 
5R21 CA178603-02                (Pace, PI)                                            09/15/14-08/31/16
Meriva for Treatment-Induced Inflammation and Fatigue in Women with Breast Cancer
This pilot study is determining the effectiveness of Meriva, a unique formulation of the natural product curcumin, to decrease inflammation and fatigue in women after radiotherapy and chemotherapy for breast cancer. Inflammatory activation as a result of treatment for breast cancer has been associated with long-term fatigue in breast cancer survivors. Although curcumin has been found to exert power anti-inflammatory actions at a number of levels (including NF-kB, a lynchpin of the inflammatory signaling cascade), concern exists about absorption of curcumin. Meriva is a unique formulation that has been shown to enhance blood levels of curcumin.
Role: PI
5R01 MH099211-03                (Gillespie, PI)                                      04/24/13-02/28/18
Stress-Related Psychobiology and Inflammation in Diabetic African-American Women
Low socioeconomic status is strongly associated with exposure to traumatic events and elevated rates of psychiatric illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD and major depressive disorder. These psychiatric illnesses are predictive of increased risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Studies proposed in this application will enhance our understanding of the biological mechanisms linking trauma-related psychiatric illness to medical illness.
Role: Co-Investigator
5R34 AT007837-03                 (Funk, PI)                                            09/01/13-08/31/16
Curcuma longa L. in Rheumatoid Arthritis (CLaRA): Clinical Planning Study
This project is conducting a randomized controlled trial of two doses of a commercial curcuminoid formulation Meriva for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who have failed to respond to methotrexate (MTX) treatment. This could overcome the challenge of RA treatment with MTX and address the concern of low bioavailability in utilizing curcuminoids for health maintenance or disease. The study could also collect important information needed for a larger efficacy trial.
Role: Co-Investigator
5R21 CA155511-02                (Torres, PI)                                          07/01511-06/30/14
Racial Disparities in Radiation-Induced Cutaneous Toxicity and Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer
This study is designed to determine the relationship between radiation-induced cutaneous toxicity and fatigue in African American versus Caucasian women with breast cancer. A special emphasis is placed on the potential role of inflammation as a mediating mechanism.
Role: Co-Investigator

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
2013-Present   Member, University of Arizona, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ
2013-Present   Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, Department of Psychiatry, Tucson, AZ
2013-Present   Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, College of Nursing, Tucson, AZ
2007- 2013     Neuroscience Faculty, Emory University, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Atlanta, GA
2007- 2013     Member, Emory University, Emory Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA
2006- 2012     Assistant Professor, Emory University, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Atlanta, GA
2006- 2006     Adjunct Instructor, Spelman College, Department of Psychology, Atlanta, GA
2014    40 under 40 Honoree, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star
2012    Fellow, Poptech Science
2008    Professional Development Award, President's Commission for LGBT Concerns, Emory University
2006    Travel Award, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society
1998    Psychobiology Award, Albright College
Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 
2011-Present   Member, American Psychosomatic Society
2010-Present   Member, American Psychological Association
2005-Present   Member, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society
2005-Present   Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
Stress Immunology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Psychology/ Neuroscience, University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Psychobiology, Albright College, Reading, PA